While doing a bit of research to compile a list of the top five new television series that premiered this year, I discovered that there are still a few popular series I haven’t watched. So that article is on hold for a moment while I binge watch a few new shows like Better Call Saul and wait a couple days for Jessica Jones to come out. As I mulled over some of the best television being created, I couldn’t help but think about Firefly.
Before Joss Whedon was viewed as a storytelling god among men who could do no wrong, but after his massively successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series starring Sarah Michelle Geller, he created Firefly. The show was a comical mass of the space opera and Western genres, following Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew and they travelled from planet to planet looking for legal and illegal work alike. Its main plot centered on River Tam, a mysterious young girl with uncanny combat and psychic abilities who wound up part of the crew after her brother paid Malcolm to smuggle him and his sister away from the Alliance’s clutches.
You’ve probably heard of the series even if you haven’t seen it before. Firefly amassed a planet-sized cult following despite being cancelled by FOX after one season. Currently holding 80% critic rating and 97% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes, the series is often used as a prime example of studio executive incompetence. The series was so popular that it even received a full-fledged movie adaption titled Serenity with a budget of $39 million.
Firefly is a perfect example of strong casting making the show. Despite his many successes since, including a six year ongoing role as Castle, Nathan Fillion will be remembered by most of his fans as Captain Malcolm Reynolds. Supported by a wide array of amazing talent you’ve probably seen in some of your favorite television series and movies over the past ten years, it was obvious from the first episode that everyone thoroughly enjoyed their involvement on the show. That joy was translated on screen, and I think it’s one of the main reasons – besides the phenomenal story of course – so many people found Firefly infectiously entertaining.
I understand why FOX cancelled it. The series wasn’t seeing the ratings it needed to sustain itself. Even the movie, with all the nostalgic hype behind it, barely made its budget back at the box office. You can blame the marketing all you want, but Firefly is a simple case of people being too late to the party.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it for what it is. The series is definitely worth watching and the movie gives it a fitting end that people who haven’t seen the show can fully understand and enjoy. (Hell, the movie’s worth watching for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance alone! A name you’ll probably recognize soon if you don’t already.)
Even cancelled as early as it was, Firefly is one of the greatest television series of all-time. You owe it to yourself to experience its magic if you haven’t seen the series yet. If you have, then let this serve as a friendly reminder to watch it again.
Until next time, be a leaf on the wind and stay shiny my friends.